September 24, 2009 / 11:44 AM / 9 years ago

U.S. complains to Russia over sex tape 'smear' - ABC

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The United States has complained to Russia’s Foreign Ministry over what it says is a bid to smear a diplomat with a fabricated sex tape, the U.S. ambassador in Moscow told ABC television.

Ambassador John Beyrle said a video apparently featuring the diplomat and prostitutes that appeared in the Russian media was “clearly fabricated,” according to a transcript of an interview broadcast late on Wednesday on ABC.

Ties with Moscow sank to a post-Cold War low under the last U.S. administration but President Barack Obama, who met Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in New York on Wednesday, has said he wants to press the “reset” button on the relationship.

“I think there are people here who don’t want the U.S.-Russian relationship to get better. That’s unfortunate,” Beyrle said.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it would issue a statement on the case later on Thursday. A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Moscow said it had nothing to add to Beyrle’s comments on ABC.

Beyrle said that the video, posted last month on the web site of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, www.kp.ru, spliced genuine footage of diplomat Kyle Hatcher in a Moscow hotel room with staged footage of a couple having sex.

“Kyle Hatcher has done nothing wrong,” Beyrle said. “Clearly the video we saw was a montage of lot of different clips, some of which are clearly fabricated,” he told ABC News.

Hatcher works in the embassy’s political section and is responsible for outreach to religious, civil society and human rights organizations.

“There may be some people here who don’t like that job description and would like to discredit him in the eyes of his contacts,” Beyrle said.

“I have full confidence in him and he is going to continue his work here at the embassy.”

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